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Monthly Archives: April 2012


Alana dropped by today with more designs and one of her rugs finished! This is the same one that I want to hook – I think they will be very different. Alana has a wonderful style that is so beautiful. She uses a lot of wool that the rest of us would never even think to use – thick blankets, thready wools and mostly recycled! It gives her rugs an amazing folkart look:

Wendy emailed me a picture of her purse done using an adaptation of a Karla Gerard pattern. It is so bright and happy – much of it done in polar fleece yarns:


At a hookin recently Alana talked about how she comes up with some of her whimsical designs. I asked if she would share this info with all our readers so here it is:

“In the early 90’s I read a book by an art therapist named Lucia Capacchione. The book was called “The Power of Your Other Hand” ( I had already become acquainted with the powerful technique of drawing with your non-dominant hand from Betty Edwards’ drawing ‘bible’ in art school. Capacchione carried the non-dominant hand techniques further into every day habitual patterns; for example, brushing your teeth and putting the cutlery away. Performing these ordinary tasks with my non-dominant hand placed me in the present moment. applying these techniques to my artwork forced me into being spontaneous and primitive in my imagery. Childhood memories and dreams surfaced.
At the same time I came across another book written by two lapsed Catholics, “Saints Preserve Us”. I found the book hilarious and inspiring. I started looking at my left handed cartoon characters as fitting into the roles of some of the patron saints. The frog and fishes was St. Anthony who is recorded as going to the riverbank and preaching to the fishes who stood on their tails in the water and listened. St. Venantius (my highwire Frog) is the patron saint invoked against danger from falling; my laundry line with bird and shorts is St. Veronica, the patroness of laundresses.
I made a series of magnetic greeting cards of the patron saints that I found humourous. Though most of the stories are actually tragic since most of the saints died martyrs’ deaths, somehow making their stories ‘over-the-top’ aided me in becoming a witness. I have frequently found people who deal with the dying in their profession often have a developed sense of humour to give them momentary relief from the tragedy. I could relate to this very deeply in my own story which emerged from my very first non-dominant hand painting which will explain why many of my paintings focused on vicious dogs.
When I was three I lived with a wonderful dalmation dog named Trixie who had a litter of puppies, one of which was pure white. My first painting depicted a dog in a cocoon in the earth, looking dead, with a grouping of puppies above her, one of which was a white puppy with fangs. I remembered the name of the dog as Trixie, which I had forgotten until then. I phoned my parents and asked them about the white puppy and they told me this tragic story: they had given the white puppy to their closest friends who had recently had a child. On a cool Saskatchewan day the mother had briefly gone into her home leaving the newborn in the baby carriage at the foot of a landing. The puppy jumped into the carriage for warmth supposedly and smothered the infant. My parents put down our dog, Trixie, so as not to be a reminder. As a child all I knew of this was that my dog was now gone.
I believe that I was able to look at these memories particularly because the images came out very primitively and cartoon-like. I encourage anyone to use this technique to explore their subconscious. It is a very healing tool and also a creative one.”

Here are some more of Alana’s designs soon to be translated into hooking patterns:



4 and 20 Blackbirds

Chicken Soup


Bird and Shorts

Beach Volleyball

Cat and Goldfish


The patterns on linen will be 30.00. The actual pattern is 15 x 15 with a generous 4 inches on each side making the overall linen size 23 x 23 inches. That means you can add a nice border around the outside should you wish! I have already drawn out the frog and will work on some of the others later today so they can be ordered anytime now.

There will definitely be more!!! Alana Kapell patterns – keep watching!


Ohhhh I am so excited – I will be offering as rughooking patterns on linen the following designs by Alana Kapell.  These are small (15 inch square) and quick and fun to hook up. We do plan to introduce more in future. Imagine these in Alana’s wonderful funky bright colours or hmmm in my somewhat dirty colours! I think either approach would work wonderfully – in fact I think Alana and I are up for the challenge of hooking one each in our own colours. Stay tuned for pictures of these at some future point in time…





Yesterday Sue came to pick out and cut wool to finish the skies in her Karla Gerard combination rug. Last fall when Sue visited the studio she picked out and combined 2 Karla patterns – Happy Houses and On the Knoll – to make one runner.  Sue did hers in Karla colours(I love the colours in her rug) and I did my version in my dirtier colours.  I think it is so interesting to see both versions together as they look so totally different.


A few months ago I posted about Gwen who was recreating one of my antique rugs. She wanted to incorporate all her dogs as well as her paint horse. Well today Gwen dropped by and here is her wonderful finished rug:

I think Gwen did an amazing job of recreating an old vintage rug look.

Then didn’t I get an email from Diane who just hung her rug in a unique way. This was an old wagon wheel that had been cut in half and had the spokes removed. Diane ran a dowel through the middle and hung her rug inside the wheel. I think it is an ingenious way to hang a rug – Ballycanoe has these half wagon wheels for PEANUTS! Might have to go and pick some up!


Whew this week has been busy but fun fun fun.  Between the Moira Matters hookin on Saturday and a few classes during the week and another tomorrow and guild on Thursday I have kept out of trouble – well somewhat anyway! At guild this week we had our auction of rughooking items that members donated – these would be the items we have spent $$ on in the past only to find that hmmm we no longer want to hook that pattern or use those wools. So lets make our stash a bit smaller SO THAT WE CAN TURN AROUND AND BUY MORE STUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUFF (hmmm that was my computer keyboard that just did that i.e. allll those UUUU’s – is it trying to tell me something??? – not terribly discretely!). Anyway I divested myself of a lot of recycled overdyed wool but turned around and bought a wonderful tiny mat made out of stockings. There were 3 available and I had to fight Wendy and Shelley for mine! Probably the fact that mine is very dirty, faded and old looking – I did not have to fight tooo hard! This piece really is tiny – a bit bigger than a postcard – and very fine so I think I may have Gord make me a primitive frame and display it that way so that it has a bit more impact. I just love it!

After guild Wendy took France and I to a wonderful little shop full of primitives, antiques and funky country stuff. I bought an old primitive (I think antique) candle box and old tin cake pan for $ (not $$$). What will I do with these? Well probably for the candle box I will hook a long narrow piece to hang on the inside and then pop it onto an old nail in the wall – have to go hunting for the old nail now!! (oh yes just another excuse to go junking). And the cake pan will make a wonderful base for a wool feather or hooked tree. A really BIG one (Liz check it out – would be perfect for your feather tree!!!)

Finally finished off (or rather friends finished off for me) the punch needle piece that I started ohhhhh perhaps 3 years ago. I loved the punching but in the end realised that a piece post card sized would take me a week to punch in which time I could HOOK a much bigger piece! Plus the punching started to hurt my wrist so this piece gathered dust for a long time before it finally was finished by Karen and Diane! Thank you both so much! Many years ago Laura had given me a primitive breadboard which I painted red, rubbed with clear shoepolish and then overpainted with black, distressed and finally rubbed with burnt sienna oil paint. I then attached the punch needle piece and love the look. This is a design by Brenda Gervais of Country Stitches (have done a few of her patterns and love them!). So all in all a wonderful week spent with friends and hooking and junking…


I finally finished hooking my Karen Kahle Apothecary Rose rug. I did what I always caution people NOT TO DO – left background (well no background on this rug but a LOT of border) till the end and it took a longggg time because I have such a short attention span that I would have to do something else (a couple of tote bags, a runner, a pillow, some mitts!) in the meantime. Always feeling guilty as the rug lay on the table begging to be finished. Just finished zigzagging. Just a little tip – this is a bigger rug – about 4 feet by 3 (almost) – and is very heavy so zigzagging all the way around it in one shot would have been impossible. My sewing machine is on a 6 foot table so I can stretch out the rug on the table but I did one side at a time. Marked 2 1/2 inches and drew a line in between the threads with a marker and pulled out one thread along the line so stitching in the ditch would be easier and then cut off the excess on that side (this way i.e. pulling out a thread, zigzagging and THEN cutting off the excess meant no fraying!!!). Then I moved to the next side and so on all the way around. Very very quick and easy and a good way to do the edge on a big heavy rug.

So why 2 1/2 inches – BECAUSE I CANNOT DECIDE WHAT FINISH I WANT! Do I whip to the back over cording, to the front over cording, to the front without cording? Do I whip with yarn or my left over dark strips? Usually I DON’T whip (toooooo long) but for this rug because of the size and the visual weight of the rug I decided that a show binding would not be substantial enough. Plus I have not decided – floor or wall! So next step will be deciding what finish I will do but the 2 1/2 inches gives me lots of room to play.

I know I still have some tweaking to do – now that I see the photograph on the computer – but that can be done AFTER the edge is all finished. I am just soooooo happy with this rug! (and really happy it is done!)


Put on by the Moira Matters in Belleville this past Saturday. About 80 hookers attended bringing goodies and wonderful rugs for show and tell. Of course!!! my camera acted up again – or was it the cameraperson! I swear it was the dollar store rechargeable batteries that Gord put in the camera that morning! The camera flash took so long to charge that all I ever seemed to photograph was the rug as it was being put away!!! So then I had an AHA moment and started snapping photos before the rugs were actually shown so that by the time my flash had charged the rug was actually being held up!!!!! Hah – worked for a few pictures but even many of those are grainy. So I will post only the ones that actually turned out reasonably well. Better not quit my day job!!!

Today I had a dye class. Barb brought her beautiful rug – I think this might have been her second rug based on a picture she had put in her to do file years ago. The birch trees are stunning! and most of the background was hooked in yarns (many by Fleece Artist). The effect was almost three dimensional.


Hmmmmm seems I have been hooking a lot of the patterns I have for sale! This weekend’s project was a pattern by Karen Kahle. It did not start off well – I pulled the colours Karen used in her piece – more tealey tones for the leaves) and started cutting and hooking. I realised my colours were much brighter than Karen’s and the piece was not looking the way I wanted it to. So – what to do? Well I decided to hook it in my usual favourites – warm reds, olive greens and golds – only to find that this ALSO did not work as the colour of the leaves was way toooooo dark for the surrounding background which I did love. Whew – what do I try next – I already had 2 piles of cut wool that were not going to be used in this piece!!! So pulled out the third set of wools – still greens but soft anjou pear greens, soft soft oranges, mauves, beizes, soft yellows and IT WORKED! I LOVE the finished piece. It is bordered by a mauve/purple/gold/soft olive plaid which I will use next week in my finishing class to demonstrate a prodded edge on the pillow. Here is a picture – if you are interested in the pattern and the wools (bundled) that I used in the piece please email me:

I hope you all had as wonderful a weekend as I did – on the way down to spend the weekend with my parents we stopped in Cobourg at Legacy (an Architectural Salvage store). Now I love old stuff and this place was chock full of amazing stuff – if you are looking for door handles, antique lighting, old windows etc. it is a great place to visit. However, I love the hunt! I love to sort through the “junk” and just happen upon that wonderful piece that speaks to me. This place was WAY TOOOOOO ORGANIZED AND CLEAN AND TIDY! I don’t want all the treasures on display – I want to “find” them by accident, as though they had been hidden away decades ago and I just discovered them. So I will continue to frequent my local salvage (Ballycanoe and Millers) and junky antiques stores.

During the weekend – interspersed with way too much eating of really good food (Gord did happen to mention on the way home how much he enjoyed all the good cooking on the weekend and sadly it was back to my cooking – to which I responded – it could be his cooking!!!) I did get to an antique mall in Waterloo and found a fun little fish packing crate. It has wonderful graphics on the sides and has already been cleaned up (no fishy smell!) and is ready for a fish rug and handles so that in its new life it will become a tray (Gord’s idea – which almost makes up for the cooking remark!).

Monday night I met the ladies of the Georgetown rughooking guild when I did a trunk show on what primitive and antique inspired rughooking means to me. It was so nice to see so many familiar faces and to chat with everyone. What an exciting programme they have – if I were closer I would have to join their guild!

The only downer of the entire weekend was both Gord and I breaking teeth! Gotta stop eating those frozen cookies!!!! Oh and giving blood Tuesday night and having a vein collapse as the nurse prodded and prodded that BIG SPIKE in my arm wondering why no blood was coming out!!!! Otherwise it was a great weekend.

This Saturday I will be vending at the Moira Matters hookin in Belleville. Hope to see some of you there…


I wish everyone a wonderful, peaceful, healthy Easter holiday spent with family and friends and lots of chocolate! Hopefully the weather will hold up – today is amazing and of course Gord is off to golf – so not only will I get the hole by hole account of his golf game (although ALL I ever ask is so how was your game? – not CAN YOU TELL ME EVERY SHOT YOU MADE AND HOW YOU HELD THE CLUB AND AND AND!) but this is MASTERS WEEKEND! ahhhhh I get another 10 hours a day of TV time – of GOLF! and hmmm we have a rewind feature which allows him to watch each swing 2 – 3 times! and HE WATCHES THE COMMERCIALS!!!!!!! cause he might miss something about a new golf club (not that that is happening!) or a car (even though we just got a new car a week ago!!!!). So can you tell I am going a little strange right now in grand anticipation!

Have been hooking and finished a rug the other day by Woolen Memories (one of the new smaller rugs that I am carrying) so in the theme of rabbits here is the new rug (still in the binding phase) and a few others I have done: